[linux-elitists] Will The Expiry of the MP3 Patents Affect Fedora's Support for the MP3 format?

Shlomi Fish shlomif at shlomifish.org
Mon Oct 12 05:57:24 PDT 2015


Hi all,

according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3#Licensing_and_patent_issues :

< QUOTE >
The initial near-complete MPEG-1 standard (parts 1, 2 and 3) was publicly
available on 6 December 1991 as ISO CD 11172.[58][59] In most countries,
patents cannot be filed after prior art has been made public, and patents
expire 20 years after the initial filing date, which can be up to 12 months
later for filings in other countries. As a result, patents required to
implement MP3 expired in most countries by December 2012, 21 years after the
publication of ISO CD 11172.

An exception is the United States, where patents filed prior to 8 June 1995
expire 17 years after the publication date of the patent, but application
extensions make it possible for a patent to issue much later than normally
expected (see submarine patents). The various MP3-related patents expire on
dates ranging from 2007 to 2017 in the U.S.[60] Patents filed for anything
disclosed in ISO CD 11172 a year or more after its publication are
questionable. If only the known MP3 patents filed by December 1992 are
considered, then MP3 decoding may be patent-free in the US by 22 September 2015
when U.S. Patent 5,812,672 expires which had a PCT filing in Oct
1992.[61][62][63]

< / QUOTE >

Now since we are past 22 September 2015 , does that mean that MP3 is
patent-free enough for Fedora and other Red Hat distributions to incorporate
support into it? (For Fedora's lack of support for playing MP3s, see
http://www.fedorafaq.org/#mp3 ). As usual, "I am not a lawyer" (IANAL).

Regards,

	Shlomi Fish

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